George Russell brought a smile to the faces of the local fans with a strong win in gloomy conditions in this afternoon’s Race 1 at Silverstone, easing into the lead early on before leading for the remainder of the race ahead of teammate Anthoine Hubert and Alessio Lorandi.
But the Briton didn’t have it all his own way: when the lights went out it was Hubert who led the field into Turn 1, making a brilliant start to beat the poleman for P1 while behind him Jack Aitken made a brilliant start from P5 to grab third from teammate Nirei Fukuzumi, with ART holding the top 4four places before Niko Kari blasted past both of them as the Japanese driver slowed to a stop, with Lorandi, Dorian Boccolacci and Ryan Tveter lined up behind Aitken at the end of the lap.
Russell was not to be denied, however, and it was lap four when he took a long tow and blew past Hubert for the lead of the race on Hangar straight. Three laps later it was Lorandi who was on the move, attacking Aitken for P4 at Bridge and looking forward for more as most of the grid looked to preserve their tires for the end of the race.
On lap 14 Tveter slowed to a halt, his strong drive spoiled by a mechanical failure, prompting a VSC period to remove his vehicle. Lorandi was ready for the restart two laps later and blew past Kari when the race went live and was soon all over the back of Hubert, who now had to look in his mirrors instead of ahead to the race lead.
As the last few laps rolled down it was Russell who was first to the flag, just a second ahead of the battle for P2, finally secured by Hubert over Lorandi for his first podium. Behind them Aitken held on for P4 in an eventful race ahead of a storming Boccolacci, who finished ahead of a fierce late squabble between Kari, Maini and Alesi, with Kevin Joerg and Julien Falchero rounding out the points in ninth and 10th.